When I had our second son 4 months ago, I knew it would be slightly difficult to get the new baby to nap at the same time his brother did, but I thought it would be a temporary struggle until we finally got into a rhythm.
The weeks came and went, but he never settled down for a 9 am naptime like his brother used to and definitely wasn’t ready for a nap at 1 when our 1 year old went down. Instead, he was ready for a nap about an hour after we woke up in the morning, another short nap around 11:30, and then another one around 3.
I thought I could move their nap times around over time to make sure they were napping at the same time so I could have some “mommy time.” Aka time to do dishes, laundry, and actually sit on the couch without being dragged to the floor by a mommy-hungry toddler.
What resulted was a complete mutiny.
I swear my kids discussed in toddler/infant babble how they would punish me for my attempts to derail their schedules.
No one grew accustomed to a new nap time and everyone was miserable.
What I finally figured out was what a huge blessing these staggered nap times are!
Instead of trying to keep my baby awake longer and force my toddler down sooner, I realized that while the baby was sleeping, my toddler and I had an hour of quality alone time each morning.
Then when my toddler goes down for his long nap in the afternoon, my baby and I have time to babble back and forth without my toddler wanting me to color with him or play in his ball pit with him.
It was the solution to a worry I had so much during my second pregnancy – would I ever have time to spend one on one time with each of my kids?
Yes! During each of their nap times I have plenty of alone time with each of them to do activities that are appropriate for their ages.
My baby and I play with his rattles and lay on the floor together for tummy time. My toddler and I build towers with his blocks and make messes with paint.
When do the dishes get done you might ask?
I’m just kidding – kind of. When my 4 month old is asleep, my Nugget (22 month old) helps me to sweep the floor, sort laundry, put clothes and clean dishes away, and clean up from breakfast.
At night, my husband watches the kids and enjoys some time with them while I do dishes after dinner. Then he vacuums the puffs and miscellaneous pieces of paper off of the floor for the millionth time while I nurse the baby and try to keep my toddler from breaking his neck jumping off of the furniture.
It’s the American dream really.
I live in a zoo with three men who are determined to make sure “me time” never happens – but I love them nonetheless.
While you might need parallel nap times to maintain your sanity, I’ve found the answer to my biggest fears to be in doing exactly the opposite. Right now, I’m typing this out at 10 pm while I coo at my gorgeous 4 month old baby and watch my toddler sleep. This works WONDERS for our family, I hope it helps you too!
Do your kids nap at the same time? When do you spend one on one time with them? If you could stick to any nap schedule, what would it be? Let me know in the comments!
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